Two Mistakes

Speaking strictly tactically, Trump made two big mistakes. The first was to downplay the COVID virus, and indeed go on the offensive to encourage risky and dangerous behavior, particularly not wearing masks. I assume the reason for his madness here was a combination of stupidity in ignoring science (just as he has done with climate change), or at least ignoring the science that counseled sacrifice as opposed to the science (and lucrative industry) that promised a quick-fix vaccine, and a short-sighted (thus, again stupid) focus on maintaining at all costs the glowing economy he expected to get him re-elected. Instead he should have seen this as an even more assured road to victory by becoming a wartime president and rallying the nation to beat this terrible foe. Americans do not change horse in midstream. That’s what got even hapless Bush II re-elected, you may recall. It is clear that Trump’s absurd way of dealing with the pandemic hurt him politically. 

            Nevertheless, and (just as in 2016), against all predictions, he (and the Republicans) did remarkably well in the election. But he lost the presidency. His second big mistake was not to concede and do so magnanimously. He could so easily have pointed to the undisputed fact that he had received more votes, not only than in his first election – over 11 million more! -- but also than any other presidential candidate in the history of this country! Almost 5 million more! (It’s just that Biden got even more.) He would thereby have accomplished two things. First, he would have preserved or even thereby created an amazing legacy, which is now in tatters. Second, he would have laid the groundwork for a comeback in 2024 if he had so desired, or, alternatively, for being a power broker and influencer (with attendant financial gains of epic proportions) in or outside of the Republican Party. But perhaps in this case the reason for his mistake had most of all to do with his fear of prosecutions galore if he were to leave office before the statute of limitations runs out.

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